June 30, 2012 by marceladevivo
Have you checked the pulse of your social media campaigns lately? Many businesses today – large and small – are still getting it wrong; still missing the point of creating engaging content and sharing it with their customer base across multiple channels.
The potential advantages gained from social media marketing are numerous. According to the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 85% of marketers reported that social media marketing is boosting business exposure. The report, which was sponsored by the online magazine Social Media Examiner, also found that 58% of marketers listed lead generation as a benefit of social media.
For businesses that hope to enjoy a Return on Investment for their content and social strategies, there are some common pitfalls to avoid:
Actually Have a Strategy
It’s not enough to have a Facebook or Twitter account for your business. The social networks only work if you have focused and relevant messages for your targeted audience. Before even opening a social media account you should have a content strategy developed.
Ask yourself these questions: Who are your audience members? Where do they hang out? (Hint: there are other social hubs besides Twitter and Facebook.) How can you interact with audience members in a way that doesn’t force your brand message on them but rather adds value to their lives in the form of useful and engaging information?
Only when you can answer these questions does it make sense to begin a campaign.
Have the Right People at the Helm
Some businesses assume that the youngest person on staff should be in charge of a social media campaign because so-called “digital natives” are usually a driving force of all things social. Such thinking is skewed.
Your campaign should be in the hands of people who understand the holistic nature of social marketing. It is not about tweeting 20 times a day but rather a case of aligning your brand message across multiple channels that each serves the goal of customer engagement.
A social media campaign can demand a large investment of time and resources. Almost 60% of marketers spend six hours or more a week on social media and a third spend 11 hours or more, according to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
If an in-house marketing team can’t handle the job then by all means consider bringing in someone who can.
Don’t Assume You Know the Customer’s Needs
Instead of assuming you know everything there is to know about your customers’ wants and needs – and building social media campaigns around those assumptions – first take the time to get to know your prospects.
Remember that prospects are human beings. Listen to the conversations they’re having on the many digital platforms. Take part in these conversations and engage them. By knowing who your prospects really are, you’ll be much better able to serve them.
Embrace New Metrics and Paradigms
In order to gauge whether your social media campaign is successful or not you need to track the results. But you can’t rely on antiquated metrics. Although many aspects of doing business still revolve around the theory that everything’s a “numbers game,” this rule simply isn’t enough in the realm of social media.
Whether it’s about newsletter subscribers or Twitter followers, it’s important to focus on quality and not just quantity. It’s more profitable to have only 300 Twitter followers if those people actually engage with your message and convert into sales.
So stop thinking numbers and start thinking results.
There’s no question that a social media strategy is no longer an option for most businesses – it’s a requirement for survival. According to an August 2011 report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 65% of adult Internet users are using a social networking site, up from 29% in 2008.
In addition, 94% of respondents in the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report said they were using social media for marketing purposes and 83% said it was important for their business.
However, approaching a social media campaign with the wrong mindset – and without any preparation – can be detrimental in the long run. So, avoid the common pitfalls and take the time to formulate a strategy that works for your business’ specific needs and market.
Photo provided by tadahsocialmedia.com
This guest post was provided by Jessica Edmondson who writes about social media training and internet marketing training for the University Alliance, a division of Bisk Education, Inc.